Mohun Bagan were dealt a heavy blow in their title pursuit as Churchill Brothers FC Goa staged a dramatic come-from-behind victory to clinch a 2-1 victory against the Mariners to notch up their second straight victory in Hero I-League 2016-17.
Prabir Das (24′) gave Bagan a first-half lead before two second-half goals from Anthony Wolfe (65′) and Chesterpoul Lyngdoh (74′) secured all three points for the Goan club.
The win propels the Goan side to the sixth place in the table while Bagan remain third in the standings with two games still in hand although it will hurt the title contenders on a day Kingfisher East Bengal won their tie against Shillong Lajong to bolster their position at the top.
After a slow start to the game, the first shot on target in the match was from Bagan as Prabir Das tried a tame effort which was comfortably saved by Churchill goalkeeper Naveen Kumar.
Kumar had to make a tougher save from a close range shot by Darryl Duffy which was punched away. Bagan kept putting pressure on the Churchill defence and were rewarded with a goal in the 24th minute.
Sony Norde who was operating on the left flank managed to beat Keenan Almeida on the wing before picking out Prabir Das with an inch-perfect cross.
Das managed to get a jump over defender Adil Khan as he directed a glancing header past Naveen Kumar who was left stranded on his goal line as Bagan led 1-0 in the 24th minute.
Bagan held onto the 1-0 lead until half-time despite some late pressure.
Churchill started the second half strongly and came close on a few occasions. Wolfe had an angled shot run across Majumder’s goal before Adil Khan’s header from a corner grazed the top of the post as Churchill kept pressing.
The Goan club found a way back into the match as Wolfe equalised in the 65th minute, thanks to a defensive lapse by the Bagan defence. Wolfe was allowed to get on the end of a Seriton clearance before slotting the ball coolly past Majumder to make it 1-1.
Churchill were in the ascendancy and they took the lead in the 75th minute from to a brilliant combination by Brandon Fernandes and Chesterpoul Lyngdoh as Brandon dribbled his way to the touchline before putting in a dangerous cross into the six-yard box. Lyngdoh threw himself at the cross as he headed the ball into the net to make it 2-1 in favour of the Red Machines.
Late in the second half, the match had to be held up for thirty-nine minutes due to a power outage in the stadium. The match, however, resumed and was completed as per regulations.
Both teams had a few half chances but Churchill Brothers defended resolutely to keep Sanjoy Sen’s men at bay as they signed off with a stunning victory. Bagan initiated a late surge in search of the equaliser towards the end of the match but eventually fell short to leave Goa empty-handed.
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